FORMER Akwa Ibom governor and senate minority leader Senator Godswill Akpabio has revealed that he will launch a new football club based in the state once the Nigerian economy improves and more money is available.
Senator Akpabio was governor between 2007 and 2015 during which time he backed the state-owned football team Akwa United. A passionate sports fan, Senator Akpabio also built a 30,000-seater ultra modern multipurpose stadium in the state capital Uyo, modelled after Germany’s Allianz Arena during his tenure.
According to Senator Akpabio, this new team would help Nigeria compete in international tournaments. He said he would commence the process as soon as there was improvement in the country’s economy, pointing out that the bane of sporting activities in Nigeria was the lack of proper preparation.
Senator Akpabio said: “I am very determined to have a team, not just a football team but a team in terms of athletics. I will like to sponsor something even if I start from my senatorial district.”
Speaking at the Ibom Le Meridien and Golf Resort, Uyo, about the recent Olympics, Senator Akpabio said Nigeria goes to sleep immediately after each Olympic Games only to wake up three months to the next games for preparation. He added that he watched a film about how Serena Williams trained six hours daily for competitions, pointing out that the rigorous training undertaken consistently by Williams made her flexible, agile and able to perform, even at 34 years of age.
“We cannot win because of lack of proper preparation. We must start early putting in money to train these people as early to bed means early to rise.
“Our children usually suffer culture shock during international sporting fiesta because they are never exposed to international competitions and training. Some of our children, the first time they enter plane or go for international completion is during Olympic Games,” Senator Akpabio added.
He said his administration built an international stadium to prevent athletes from the state from suffering culture shocks during international competitions. He added that he built a futurist stadium that will not allow children to suffer from culture shocks when they go abroad.
According to senator Akpabio, his investment in the Godswill Akpabio Scrabble International Classic led to Nigeria winning the World Scrabble competition in 2015. He called on individuals and corporate organisations to invest in sports to harness indigenous grassroots talents for the betterment of the country.